Ladies, love your body this New Year
The media has been inundated lately with body image talk. We've been battling out fat-shaming versus fit-shaming.
We've heard both sides of the argument on whether it's possible to be overweight and healthy at the same time. We've gotten particularly obsessed with the "fit mom" debate. We've argued about whether it's realistic to get your body back after pregnancy.
Everyone has their own answers to those questions (including me) but that's not the point anymore. We need to refocus.
Do women get harassed for being too fat and for being enviously fit? Are we judged whether we're in tip-top shape or if we carry too much padding? Yes and yes.
People (and women, in particular) will always find reasons to judge each other, and this should stop without a doubt. As a soon-to-be personal trainer with a special interest in pre and post natal fitness, I am very invested in women's health, fitness and general well-being surrounding pregnancy, however, I believe that the very first step to tackle is self-love.
By self-love I do not mean that you should be content and complacent with your current fitness level and well-being. Complacency and defeat regarding your body image is not self-love.
Self-love means appreciating your body and respecting your body for what it has done and can do for you. It is an understanding that your body (and again, this hits home particularly hard for postpartum women) works really hard and that your body does amazing things.
From self-love you get a desire and a commitment to take care of your body. Your body is your agent of action in the world; it shows you love, it lets you dance, it does your work, it makes babies. Your body deserves your love.
But love does not come in the form of ice cream, TV, and too much wine. Women have a very hard time, myself included, remembering this, but it is worth remembering.
This is the real reason we should be committed to our health. We don't all need to look like models; health is not a particular shape. Everyone's version of optimal health will look different, but pretty much everyone agrees that you need to exercise and eat well if you want to be healthy.
The most difficult hurdle in attaining and maintaining a lifestyle that serves your health and fitness is accepting that you, your family, and the community need you to be fit and strong.
I am not fat shaming. We should not be trying to look like Victoria's Secret models - you can also be skinny and unhealthy. But excusing being unfit by blaming genetics or a busy life isn't helping anyone. The worst of the fat-shaming and body-hating comes from us. We are our own harshest critics, and no one hates us as much as we manage to hate ourselves. That is the real tragedy.
We are all worthy of the best, but that means making a change. It means getting off the couch. It means walking when you could drive. It means radically changing your diet for good.
I like to think of our bodies as Ferraris. You wouldn't put low-grade petrol in your Ferrari. You wouldn't let it sit out in the rain to rust. You wouldn't skip getting its warrant of fitness. The same should apply to your body.
In a time of poor health and poor self-esteem, let's remember why our bodies deserve the best, and make a commitment to take better care of ourselves in the new year.